It had enchanted the visitors of the SIHH last January: bringing together the jewelry and watchmaking traditions, the Automate Fée Ondine marks a new chapter for van Cleef & Arpels, in keeping with precious objects such as carriage and table clocks.
In keeping with the design language of the remainder of the group, “T-Bar” lugs are fitted on top and bottom of this case, where a full grain black alligator strap is affixed. The front crystal and display back are made from sapphire, the latter supplying view to the slender and impressive movement, which also includes piqué detailing into the Cable in blue. Despite its slim dimensions and “T-Bar” lugs (which are known to be flimsy in other programs), the white gold instance has a notable amount of heft, lending itself well to real-world use. While the timepiece obviously sits on the “dress watch” end of this spectrum, I would absolutely traveling with it around the wrist – provided I had been in the First Class cabin.The watch is surprisingly comfortable on the wrist, with its heft reminding you of its existence as it tucks out from underneath your cuff. Admittedly, my experience with white gold has been less than fantastic. Since the softest precious metal, white gold doesn’t hold up to any type of abuse nicely, so my preference here is for platinum. No matter with a fantastic design that pairs a fantastic size with hallmark historical design traits, this is not the type of dress watch you forget you are wearing, and in my book it’s a winner.
The highly complex mechanism – which animates various elements and also tells the time – gives pride of place to an ephemeral poetry